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A Collegiette’s Guide to a Breast Self-Exam

Most people associate the month of October with spooky decorations, mountains of candy, glowing jack-o-lanterns, and crackling fire pits, but did you know that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 

Source: Imgarcade

I have heard some people ask, “I am well aware of breast cancer, why is there a whole month devoted to something I’m already aware of?” This is because while many people may know about or be personally affected by breast cancer, many people forget to take the precautionary steps for themselves to possibly catch breast cancer if he or she has it (yes, guys can get it too). Detecting the disease in its early stages can possibly mean the difference between life and death, and we urge you to check yourself out just to be safe!

Don’t know what to look for? Breast cancer can look like this:

Courtesy: Worldwide Breast Cancer

Not sure how to do a self examination? Simply follow the instructions below!

Courtesy: National Cancer Institute

1) Look at your breasts while standing in front of a mirror. Look for lumps, new differences in size and shape and swelling or dimpling of the skin.

2) Repeat step one but with you arms lifted above you head.

3) Repeat step one again but with your hands on your hips.

4) Raise one arm, then the other, so you can check under your arm for lumps.

5) Squeeze the nipple of each breast gently between your thumb and index finger. Report to your healthcare provider right away if there is any discharge or fluid from the nipples or any lumps or changes in your breasts.

6) Lie down and put your left arm under your head. Use your right hand to examine your left breast. With your 3 middle fingers flat, move gently in small, circular motions over the entire breast, checking for any lump, hard knot, or thickening. Use different levels of pressure – light, medium, and firm – over each area of your breast. Check the whole breast from your collarbone above your breast down to the ribs below your breast. Switch arms and repeat on the other breast. 

Courtesy: Rebloggy

After doing the exam, look for any of the above signs. If you notice anything listed above, or even if you notice anything just a little out of the ordinary, do not be afraid to contact a health professional right away. If you are embarrassed about getting them checked out, just know that the doctors are caring and have done this plenty of times before.

Courtesy: Life With Lisa

Check out the National Breast Cancer Foundation official site here. Their mission is to “help women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.” On this site, you can create your own Early Detection Plan and invite others to do the same, read and share “Share Beyond the Shock” (a breast cancer educational resource) and also participate in fundraisers or donations to help support the NBCF.

And always remember to give your girls some TLC (touch, look and check)!

Cassi is a junior at Florida State University. As an Environmental Studies major, Cassi likes outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, and going to parks. She is part of a community Service Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, which has brought her to some very unique and exciting experiences around Tallahassee. From washing dogs to preparing food for the elderly, Cassi loves to help the community out any way that she can. In her free time, Cassi likes to paint, read, take bubble baths, wreck her boyfriend at chess, beat the high score to Mrs. Pac Man at Voodoo Dog, play with her hamsters, or attend concerts. As always, this Seminole bleeds Garnet and Gold! 
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